Bob Wills' passing in 1975 happened just as the music he made famous was enjoying a resurgence of interest, a comeback that might be traceable to Merle Haggard's decision to share his superstar spotlight with the music that shaped him. In 1970, Haggard invited six members of the Texas Playboys -- Eldon Shamblin, Tiny Moore, Johnnie Lee Wills, Alex Brashear, Joe Holley, and Johnny Gimble -- to record with his band on A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World: My Salute to Bob Wills. Haggard gathered Bob and even more Texas Playboys to record at his housewarming party in 1971. Although that album was never released (although it was included many years later in the Bear Family box set), it set the stage for For the Last Time, the final time the Texas Playboys would record with Bob Wills.

With audiences rediscovering the joy of the music of the Texas Playboys, and with the veteran musicians having rediscovered the joy of playing music together, it was natural for them to want to continue on, and, with the blessing of Bob's widow, Betty, they did, as the Original Texas Playboys, under the leadership of Leon McAuliffe. The band appeared on one of the first episodes of Austin City Limits, and they continued to perform together under the Original Texas Playboys name until piano-pounder Al Stricklin passed away in 1986.

They recorded a few albums, but none of them have been issued on CD. Someone has digitized the first two -- Bob Wills' Original Texas Playboys Today (1977) and Live and Kickin' (1978). Singer Leon Rausch's discography covers most of the post-Bob Wills recording of the Original Texas Playboys and other collections of Bob's sidemen.

Someone has also digitized another vinyl disc featuring a Texas Playboys legend: Eldon Shamblin: Guitar Genius (1982). Western Swing historian Buddy McPeters has called Eldon Shamblin the "greatest Texas Playboy" -- he was not only a guitarist, with a unique style, but an arranger who made the Texas Playboys swing. For many years he also served as the band's business manager. Eldon's playing is usually in the background; this album gives it the spotlight it deserves. The album begins with Eldon saying a few words about his career and the development of his style. Praguefrank's discography of Eldon Shamblin reports that he was joined on the album by John Cummins and Bob Kiser on bass, Jay Hearn on drums, and Gary Hutton and Curly Lewis on fiddle.

On May 23, 1978, Michael Mendelson interviewed Texas Playboys mandolinist Tiny Moore, who talked about his growing up, split between the farmland of central Texas and the oil refinery town of Port Arthur, early music efforts, his stint in the Army Air Corps, his impromptu audition for Bob Wills at a pig stand, marrying Dean McKinney and settling down in Sacramento, the Billy Jack Wills band, and his "civilian" life as a TV kiddie show host, music teacher, and music store owner. Mendelson boiled the interview down into this profile of Tiny Moore for Frets magazine. (Found via the texasplayboys.net discussion forum.) There's an intriguing teaser at the end of that article -- elsewhere in the issue, David Grisman takes an "in-depth look" at Tiny Moore's style of playing mandolin.

On board a CRJ-700, the first leg of the trip

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.

And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

Lod (לוד): Population: 71,060. Election results: Likud 32.77%, Joint Arab List 16.15%, Israel Our Home 10.30%. By group: Nationalist parties 62%, Arab parties 17%, Leftist parties 13%, religious parties 7%.
Beersheba (בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע): Population: 197,270. Election results: Likud 37.69%, Zionist Camp 12.24%, Israel Our Home 12.06%. By group: Nationalist parties 70%, Leftist parties 21%, religious parties 7%, Arab parties 1%.

It doesn't seem to matter how early we start to plan and pack, we can't seem to avoid the last-minute scramble before a trip. The morning of our March 7 departure included a 2 a.m. run to Walgreens for a few items, a visit to the ATM and the post office (to mail some get-well cards), and an unsuccessful attempt at getting the accumulated grit and grime of winter washed off of the car. (March 6 was the first really nice day in weeks, and it seemed like every car wash ran out of soap that day.) I got about a one-hour nap before I got up, got myself ready, then got everyone else up. My mom and dad came by, bringing Whataburger sausage biscuits and coffee and both of their vehicles (the Avalon and the Santamobile) to help get the five of us and all of our stuff to the airport. We weighed bags and rearranged and jettisoned. I shooed everyone out the door and ran through my checklist for closing up the house.

Back from Israel

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By now, the loyal readers that have bothered to hang around will not be surprised by long gaps between blog entries. Work and family obligations have been preempting time and energy to write for publication here or anywhere

The most recent silence was about family, but much more joy than obligation. The whole family spent the last two weeks on a physically and intellectually demanding study tour of Israel, under the auspices of Augustine Christian Academy and the Jerusalem Cornerstone Foundation. The itinerary took us from Dan even unto Beersheba, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, from the lowest point on Earth to the foothills of still snowy Mount Hermon. We saw the country at its greenest, with even the desert in bloom, at the tail end of a wet winter and spring, before the withering heat of summer sets in.

The people and places of the Bible were certainly at the center of the tour, but we covered nearly the entire span of recorded human history, from city gates that Abraham likely passed through over 4000 years ago to the present day. I don't know of any spot on the planet quite like Israel, where nearly every great world empire has left its mark -- Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Mecca, the Umayyids, the Abbasids, the Crusaders, the Mamluks, the Ottomans, Napoleon, the British. (That's us below, in front of a Roman aqueduct near the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea Maritima.)

Over the course of the tour, I managed to fill a small Moleskine notebook with tiny writing, and the five of us took tens of thousands of photos. Although I'm back at work and back to the old grind, I want to spend some time sorting through the notes and images and memories while they're still fresh. So don't expect to see political posts any time soon.

Bates family in front of Roman aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima, Israel

Israel 2015 elections

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Polls in Israel closed about two hours ago, 3 p.m. Tulsa time. Actual vote counts are trickling in, but, as in the United States, the focus is on exit polling, which shows the current leading party, Likud, and their left-wing rivals, Zionist Union (which includes the Labor Party), each winning 27 seats in the new Knesset.

You can find the current semi-official tally on the Central Election Commission website. If I read it correctly (it's in Hebrew), it shows 285 out of 47,679 polling stations reporting, and Zionist Union with a narrow lead. (UPDATE: I read it incorrectly. The number of polling stations is closer to 42,000.) You can also find, at the top of the page, links to results by city and results by polling station. There are also downloadable CSV files, but they seem to use an encoding other than Unicode.

To help you decode that site, they have a list of the competing parties, in English and showing the Hebrew abbreviation used as their ballot designations.

UPDATE:

Just as in the US, the exit pollsters were way off.
Likud has a comfortable lead over Zionist Union, and it seems clear that Netanyahu will be able to form a new majority with breakaway conservative parties Kulanu, Beit Yehudi, and Yisrael Beitenu, and religious parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Jerusalem Post has an English language live blog of the election and the formation of a new government. There's also this geographical analysis of the result -- which parties were strongest in which cities and regions.

Ted Belman of Israpundit has a good overview of Israel's political evolution since Bibi's return to power in 2009: "Netanyahu was the author of both his near defeat and his great victory." In a nutshell, Netanyahu froze construction of new neighborhoods and towns around Jerusalem and in the West Bank under pressure from President Obama, alienating his own electoral base. He repeated the mistake and as a bonus mistake released 100 Palestinian terrorists at US prompting. Conservative Israelis began to look to other parties for leadership, and Israel's proportional representation system is favorable to forming new parties.

Making matters worse, Netanyahu's neighborhood construction freeze exacerbated the housing crisis -- too few homes and too expensive, particularly in and around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where the jobs are.

University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, writing in USA Today, about OU president David Boren's decision to expel two students and a fraternity for a video containing racist speech:

As a state institution, the University of Oklahoma is constrained by the Constitution. Among other things, that means that it must respect the free speech guarantees contained in the First Amendment, even if that speech is repugnant. Just because the university doesn't like what students say, thinks it's hateful, or worries that it will produce an unpleasant atmosphere on campus, doesn't grant it the authority to punish people for speaking. One would think that Boren -- a former U.S. senator who took an oath to uphold the Constitution when he was sworn into office -- would know better. Apparently not....

Boren's behavior was not only illegal -- and clearly so -- it was also a betrayal of the duty of fairness that he, as a university president, owes to every student enrolled in his university. To have acted so hastily, in violation of OU's own student conduct code, bespeaks a dishonorable willingness to throw students to the wolves in order to avoid bad publicity -- accompanied, perhaps, by the sort of generalized hostility to fraternities that seems all too common among university administrations these days. (That hostility, based on a general dislike of fraternities as bastions of "white male privilege," is itself racist and sexist, of course.)

As Reason's Robby Soave notes, OU administered lighter punishment to a football player who punched a girl so hard it broke four bones in her face than it meted out to the SAE fraternity for singing a song. After this assault, caught on camera, Joe Mixon was suspended from playing, but allowed to remain on campus, attending classes with other students as usual. No expulsion there.

In theory, universities are supposed to be the bastions of reasoned thought and fairness. In practice, you will seldom find a place where mob justice is more likely to prevail with the willing participation of the authorities....

The Daily Caller summarizes more incidents where student athletes received light punishment for violent behavior.

Owing to work and family commitments, I haven't had much time or energy lately for blogging. And although I won't be able to attend today's Republican County Convention, I do want to take a moment to endorse Ronda Vuillemont-Smith for County Chairman.

In a state where Republicans are overwhelmingly dominant, Democrats are not the chief threat to the implementation of Republican policies. The biggest threat comes from Republicans who wear the name but don't understand or adhere to the principles the party professes. They may simply be corrupt or self-dealing, or they may be liberals who have realized that registering Republican is their only hope of winning.

From Capitol Hill to City Hall, the actions and inactions of elected Republican officials have made the activists who helped them get elected wonder what, exactly, was the point of their exertions.

In such an environment, the role of party leadership must shift. When a party is a minority or just beginning to dream of majority status, you will gladly take any elected official who will bear the (R) after their name. But in our current environment, we need party leaders who will protect the Republican brand, who will be a voice for the grassroots party activists to counterbalance well-heeled lobbyists,

Ronda Vuillemont-Smith has shown herself willing to confront Republican elected officials when they need it. She's also shown herself to be a skilled and experienced organizer. That's why, if I were at this morning's Tulsa County GOP Convention, Ronda would have my vote.

rino-768px.pngThe attempt to enlist Oklahoma in the National Popular Vote agreement, a left-wing attempt to subvert the constitutional method for electing the president, is back. In 2014, NPV legislation was rushed through the State Senate. Legislators were invited to junkets in tropical locations and other favorite vacation spots to discuss National Popular Vote. Lobbyists found emotionally resonant arguments and were able to get senators to make binding promises . Thus they won the vote on the floor of the State Senate. Within days, several senators had recanted their support, following an outpouring of anger from conservative grassroots activists, Republican party leaders, and conservative think tanks. The State House never took up the bill, which expired with the sine die adjournment of the legislature.

In previous entries, I've explained why NPV is a bad idea -- it undermines our Constitution, allows voter fraud in one state to affect the presidential result everywhere, and disconnects Oklahoma's popular vote result from the allocation of Oklahoma's electors. The Republican National Committee unanimously condemned the proposal. The libertarian Cato Institute and conservative Heritage Foundation and Eagle Forum oppose National Popular Vote, as does the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs. The Oklahoma Republican Party's platform has opposed the idea for years.

Despite the defeat, the leftists behind NPV continued their campaign. Local GOP consultants and sometime candidates Darren Gantz and David Tackett set up meetings between out-of-state NPV lobbyists and conservative grassroots activists. Legislators were invited on at least one more NPV junket -- Christmas season in New York City.

Lame-duck State Rep. Lee Denney, who also serves as speaker pro tempore, is the sponsor of this session's NPV bill. But what is going to happen on Wednesday is sneaky and underhanded.

HB 1686, the bill Denney filed to have Oklahoma join the NPV agreement, was sent to the Rules Committee. Another bill, HB 1813, was assigned to the Elections and Ethics Committee. Authored by Democrat Rep. Eric Proctor, HB 1813 originally dealt with ballot access for political parties, but the entire text of his bill has now been replaced by text from Denney's HB 1686 committing Oklahoma to the National Popular Vote. On Wednesday morning, February 25, 2015, the Elections and Ethics Committee will consider the bill.

This rush to committee is reminiscent of the speed with which the bill was rushed through the State Senate. NPV supporters seem to be hoping to sneak this through once again, before grassroots activists hear about it.

Here is a list of committee members. I encourage you to contact the members directly to urge their swift defeat of this measure:

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, chair - paulwesselhoft@okhouse.gov
Rep. Donnie Condit, vice chair - donnie.condit@okhouse.gov
Rep. Gary Banz - garybanz@okhouse.gov
Rep. David Dank - david.dank@okhouse.gov
Rep. Charlie Joyner - charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov
Rep. David Perryman - david.perryman@okhouse.gov
Rep. Michael Rogers - michael.rogers@okhouse.gov

I also urge you to ask your Republican member of the State House to remove Lee Denney from her leadership position as Speaker Pro Tempore. There ought to be consequences for anyone who supports this betrayal of constitutional principles.

UPDATE: At the committee meeting, Rep. Denney laid over her bill, HB 1813. Chairman Wesselhoft expressed sympathy for her tough decision and said that the committee would remain the custodian of the bill, which could be heard next year if she wanted to bring it forward. According to State Rep. Glen Mulready, the committee chairman could not have forced a vote on the bill after the author laid it over. Because this was the last opportunity for a bill originating in the House to move out of committee, this particular bill is dead for this session.

Here is a direct link to the audio for the Elections and Ethics Committee meeting February 25, 2015. The chairman doesn't speak until 7:24 -- it's all background chatter before that.

NPV opponents cannot relax, however. This particular bill could get a committee hearing and a vote on short notice next session, still in time to affect Oklahoma's 2016 electoral votes. The NPV lobbyists are relentless, and I expect that they will continue to look for ways to woo legislators and activists.

There is also the possibility that the language could be inserted into a bill this year through the remainder of the legislative process -- possibly as a committee substitute for a bill that originated in the other house, possibly in a conference committee.

NPV opponents should continue to press legislators to declare their intentions on this proposal, regardless of the bill number to which it gets attached. Because it is an interstate compact (as they called it last year) or (as they're now calling it) an agreement among the states, the states all must adopt the same language. It is what it is. There's no possibility that the bill could be "improved" in the legislative process. So there's no good reason for a legislator to be agnostic about how he or she would vote. The NPV proposal is well-defined and unamendable, and conservative voices in Oklahoma and nationwide are unanimously in opposition. When the State Senate passed the NPV compact bill in 2014, lefty blogs cheered and conservative websites mourned. If a self-described conservative legislator is hesitant to take a stand on this issue, I'd hesitate to trust them on any other issue or for any elective office.

ADDED at the top because of its valuable info:

Thomas F. Madden reviews The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam by Jonathan Riley-Smith

On September 11, 2001, there were only a few professional historians of the Crusades in America. I was the one who was not retired. As a result, my phone began ringing and didn't stop for years. In the hundreds of interviews I have given since that terrible day, the most common question has been, "How did the Crusades lead to the terrorist attacks against the West today?" I always answered: "They did not. The Crusades were a medieval phenomenon with no connection to modern Islamist terrorism."

That answer has never gone over well. It seems counterintuitive. If the West sent Crusaders to attack Muslims throughout the Middle Ages, haven't they a right to be upset? If the Crusades spawned anti-Western jihads, isn't it reasonable to see them as the root cause of the current jihads? The answer is no, but to understand it requires more than the scant minutes journalists are usually willing to spare. It requires a grasp not only of the Crusades but of the ways those wars have been exploited and distorted for modern agendas....

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe's lacklands and ne'er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed "turn the other cheek" into "kill them all; God will know his own."

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it "nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public." ...

Riley-Smith describes the profound effect that Sir Walter Scott's novel The Talisman had on European and therefore Middle Eastern opinion of the Crusades. Crusaders such as Richard the Lionhearted were portrayed as boorish, brutal, and childish, while Muslims, particularly Saladin, were tolerant and enlightened gentlemen of the nineteenth century. With the collapse of Ottoman power and the rise of Arab nationalism at the end of the nineteenth century, Muslims bound together these two strands of Crusade narrative and created a new memory in which the Crusades were only the first part of Europe's assault on Islam--an assault that continued through the modern imperialism of European powers. Europeans reintroduced Saladin, who had been nearly forgotten in the Middle East, and Arab nationalists then cleansed him of his Kurdish ethnicity to create a new anti-Western hero. We saw the result during the run-up to the Iraq War, when Saddam Hussein portrayed himself as a new Saladin who would expel the new Crusaders.

Christianity Today: The Real History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression--an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity--and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion--has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt--once the most heavily Christian areas in the world--quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Gov. Jindal on the President's comparison of modern-day ISIS to the Crusades of the 11th through the 13th centuries:

Bobby Jindal on Friday released a statement responding to the president's remarks on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast in which he cautioned Americans from getting on a "high horse" when taking a stance against radical Islam because people have committed "terrible deeds" in the name of Christianity, too.

"It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast," Jindal said. "Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today."

Ace on the intellectual depth of Obama's National Prayer Breakfast comments:

But Obama doesn't deliver that; Obama delivers the same low-IQ, trite, Marxism for Dummies sh** that all glittering mediocrities like himself traffic in, for they can not manage any better.

Charles Krauthammer makes this point, mostly, when he says Obama's remarks were simultaneously "banal and offensive," and says further that these remarks are "adolescent."

Indeed. These are the Deep Thoughts of the Fourteen Year Old.

But I would go one step further. All fourteen year olds are not alike; some are clever and bookish and and full of interesting ideas (if not yet any wisdom).

And some are rather dull-witted and just want to sound like they may be clever. And these slow-witted 14-year-olds tend to just repeat, in a twittering high pitched pre-pubescent voice, a dumbed-down version of Recieved Wisdom they've heard from "Cool Adults."

All the "Cool Adults" the adolescent Obama knew were radicals and communists, and he has done far more pot than thinking since he heard these banal cliches, so what you're hearing is Obama straining to remember, through a pottish haze, what his dull 14-year-old boy brain heard from his communist benefactors in the late sixties and early seventies.

Tulsa County Republicans will meet in precinct caucuses this Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. the first step in the biennial process to elect state, county, and precinct party officials and to determine the party platform.

Most Tulsa County precincts will meet at central locations within their State House districts. The gathered precincts will go through certain preliminaries as a group, then break up into individual precinct caucuses to elect leaders and vote on resolutions to be forwarded to the county and state conventions for inclusion in the platform. The tulsagop.org website has the list of caucus locations and answers to frequently-asked questions about the process.

These House district locations were developed as a convenience for precinct officials and delegates. Some precinct chairmen may prefer not to host strangers in their home, and some delegates may feel more at ease in meeting people they don't know in a public place rather than someone's home. Some precincts have no officials currently, and a central meeting place gives interested newcomers a place to go and get things restarted. The central locations also provide an opportunity to meet fellow activists from nearby neighborhoods in a less crowded environment than the county convention.

At least one precinct has opted out of the central-meeting approach, and a few precincts have shifted their meeting place to a central meeting location closer than the designated place for their House district. Whatever the case, your precinct location should be posted on the door of your regular voting location by Saturday morning.

James Madison, writing to George Turberville, 2 November 1788, about the prospect of another Constitutional Convention before the ink was dry on the 1787 Constitution:

"You wish to know my sentiments on the project of another general Convention as suggested by New York. I shall give them to you with great frankness . . .

3. If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution, it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed to administer and support as well as to amend the system; it would consequently give greater agitation to the public mind; an election into it would be courted by the most violent partizans on both sides; it wd. probably consist of the most heterogeneous characters; would be the very focus of that flame which has already too much heated men of all parties; would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who under the mask of seeking alterations popular in some parts but inadmissible in other parts of the Union might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric. Under all these circumstances it seems scarcely to be presumeable that the deliberations of the body could be conducted in harmony, or terminate in the general good. Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention which assembled under every propitious circumstance, I should tremble for the result of a Second, meeting in the present temper of America, and under all the disadvantages I have mentioned. . . .

Retired Chief Justice Warren Burger, writing in 1988, during his service as chairman of the Commission of the Bicentennial of the U. S. Constitution:

I have repeatedly given my opinion that there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it would be too late to stop the Convention if we don't like its agenda...Our 1787 Constitution was referred by several of its authors as a 'miracle.' Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risks involved....

Eagle Forum has a section of its website devoted to the problems with a proposed Article V Convention (sometimes called a "Convention of the States").

Our 1787 Convention was developed by men who were classically educated and immersed in a culture suffused with the teaching of Scripture. The Great Awakening had produced a revival of religion and a reformation of manners throughout the American States. The Framers of the Constitution understood the innate dignity of man and his innate depravity. They read the ancient historians on the strengths and weaknesses of Athenian democracy. They read histories and contemporaneous accounts of the rise of the Roman Republic and its decline into dictatorship and empire. The evolution of Britain's constitutional monarchy and her brief experiment with republicanism was in the not-too-distant past.

Anyone seriously believe that a new Constitutional convention would be populated by delegates with the same depth of education and capacity for complex thought?

We have judges who are quite happy to twist constitutional language to suit the social and political aims of the Cultural Revolution. How will more words stop them? We have senators who won't block judges of the aforementioned type, out of fear of being thought judgmental and obstructionist. We have citizens who twice elected a President who had described his purpose as "fundamentally transforming the United States of America." What kind of men and women will they elect to a Constitutional Convention?

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Ace of Spades HQ: The New Intolerance: We Are Now Required To Embrace Just About Everything, Except the Gutter Religion Christianity

The writer is an atheist, a fiscal and foreign policy conservative, not at all a social conservative. Bottom line: If you have a problem with religious freedom laws, you're probably a totalitarian leftist. Some excerpts:

"Because that's all the gay 'rights' activists are doing here -- they are forcing people who disagree with their political beliefs to endorse those political beliefs anyway, using the crushing power of the state to compel assent....

""This is not about serving gays, this is about acceding to gays' (and non-gay Gay Enthusiasts') demands that those who dissent with gay weddings nevertheless be forced to endorse them....

"If a minority of bakers refuses services to gay weddings, what actual damage befalls gays? There are still many, many more bakers who will bake them their cakes. So what is the actual harm?

"They never answer this question -- they never ask it, so they couldn't answer it -- but the actual answer would be: 'The harm is finding out that someone disagrees with my Sacred Belief on gay marriage.'...

"What is being pursued here is not gays' right to have wedding cake. They have this, of course, and do not need the law's insistence to get it.

"What is being pursued here is hardcore gay-identity crusaders' insistence that no one has the right to disagree with them on their Sacred Belief, and that the law can and should be perverted into punishing ThoughtCrimes.

"What we are seeing here is the enforcement of a new religious code, one which puts "secular" leftist values at the center of religious dogma, and then uses the power of the state to punish heretics, apostates, and blasphemers.

"It is ugly, cruel, and stupid, as are most things the left wants."

linux - Unix Sort with Tab Delimiter - Stack Overflow

The trick is to put the special-character delimiter in single quotes, preceded by a dollar sign, per the ANSI-C quoting facility of the bash shell.

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person | Cracked.com

The harsh truths are delivered with foul language, but that just might be what it takes to reach its intended audience. Some expurgated highlights:

"Either you will go about the task of seeing to [the] needs [of others] by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving, and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

"Does that seem mean, or crass, or materialistic? What about love and kindness -- don't those things matter? Of course. As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can't get elsewhere....

"...I'm asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don't say that you're a nice guy -- that's the bare minimum.... Saying that you're a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn't make you sick. You're like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is 'The actors are clearly visible.'...

"Because that's the step that gets skipped -- it's always 'How can I get a job?' and not 'How can I become the type of person employers want?' It's 'How can I get pretty girls to like me?' instead of 'How can I become the type of person that pretty girls like?' See, because that second one could very well require giving up many of your favorite hobbies and paying more attention to your appearance, and God knows what else. You might even have to change your personality....

"...Because in my non-expert opinion, you don't hate yourself because you have low self-esteem, or because other people were mean to you. You hate yourself because you don't do anything. Not even you can just "love you for you" -- that's why you're miserable and sending me private messages asking me what I think you should do with your life.

"Do the math: How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made (TV, music, video games, websites) versus making your own? Only one of those adds to your value as a human being....

"Being in the business I'm in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they're missing is that minor final step, where they actually [-------] write things....

"How many of you are walking around right now saying, 'She/he would love me if she/he only knew what an interesting person I am!' Really? How do all of your interesting thoughts and ideas manifest themselves in the world? What do they cause you to do? If your dream girl or guy had a hidden camera that followed you around for a month, would they be impressed with what they saw? Remember, they can't read your mind -- they can only observe. Would they want to be a part of that life?...

"And so on. Remember, misery is comfortable. It's why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.

"Also, courage. It's incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don't create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created...."

He concludes by calling on his readers to pick a skill that would be valuable to others and work hard enough at it in 2015 to get good enough to impress others. "You have nothing to lose, and the world needs you."

Ace of Spades HQ: Fundamental Concepts - Why the Left Hates Families

Brief and unsopisticated, but fairly on point. "It's nothing more than a Utopian vision: Things aren't perfect now, but when WE are in charge of them, then we can make them perfect. The fact that perfection is impossible never enters their minds.... We have a preexisting social infrastructure as a nation, and if they mean to replace it with big government, the existing structure must be destroyed. Government must be the only answer to the question 'Who takes care of the people?'... The Progressive elite, the white upper and upper middle class, they don't practice what they preach. By and large, their lives are still structured around the traditional family.... They know that the family is the key to prosperity...." A point that he missed: Families (and larger-scale mediating institutions, too, like extended families, churches, neighborhoods, small towns) offer help in the context of standards of responsible behavior -- we'll bail you out, but we expect you to change the way you live so you won't need this kind of help again. The Lefty is content to help people who continue to wallow in irresponsibility, as long as they vote to keep him in power.

Dennis Prager: Americas Left-Wing Jews Are Ashamed of Israels Jews

"Left-wing Jews live, work, and socialize with left-wing non-Jews; and they believe that they are -- to their great regret -- identified with the Jewish state in the eyes of fellow leftists.... But with Israel's Jews repeatedly electing conservative governments, American Jews on the left believe that they must make it as clear as possible that they in no way support a right-wing Israel. Their moral self-esteem needs it and their left-wing credentials need it....

"The Left lives in John Lennon's song "Imagine." Thus, the Left imagines that if Israel completely withdrew from the West Bank and allowed a Palestinian state to be created now, it would be completely unlike Gaza and completely unlike Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Libya; it would be a peaceful Arab Muslim island in the midst of the cruel sea of Arab Muslim countries that surrounds it."

We got it all on UHF: An oral history of "Weird Al" Yankovic's cult classic · Oral History · The A.V. Club

The story of the one and only Weird Al movie, filmed in Tulsa in 1988 and released in 1989, as told through its execs and stars, including Michael Richards, Anthony Geary, Gedde Watanabe, Emo Phillips, and Weird Al himself. Topics include why they filmed in Tulsa and what they thought about the place.

m88k.com: Motorola MVME167 Board

A comprehensive collection of documentation for the once ubiquitous VMEbus single-board computer.

NUVO: Your kid and my kid are not playing in the pros

An ER Doc takes competitive parents to task:

"I know, I know. Your family is different. You do all these things because your kid loves to compete, he loves the travel basketball, she loves the swim team, it's her life, it's what defines him. Part of that is certainly true but a big part of that isn't. Tens of thousands of families thrive in this setting, but I'm telling you, from what I've seen as a clinician, tens of thousands don't. It is a hidden scourge in society today, taxing and stressing husbands, wives, parents and children. We're denying children the opportunity to explore literally thousands of facets of interests because of the fear of the need to "specialize" in something early, and that by not doing this your child will somehow be just an average kid. How do we learn to rejoice in the average and celebrate as a whole society the exceptional? I'm not sure, but I know that this whole preoccupation is unhealthy, it is dysfunctional and is as bad as alcoholism, tobacco abuse, or any other types of dependency."

Obituary of Roger Hancock, brother and agent of Tony Hancock in The Independent

"The previous year, a chain-smoking, nervous-looking Tony had been very self-critical in a Face to Face television interview with John Freeman. 'It was the biggest mistake he ever made,' Roger reflected later. 'I think it all started from that, really. Self-analysis - that was his killer.'"

Roger Hancock represented many of the prominent comedic actors and writers of the 1960s, including Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, the Monty Python team, and Terry Nation.

John Freeman profile (shortly before his death) in The New Statesman

"Thirty years later the BBC repeated Face to Face and sent the radio psychiatrist Anthony Clare (of In the Psychiatrist's Chair fame) and me to California to film an introductory interview in which the roles were reversed. The programme was a failure. Freeman had an intimidating physical presence and a manner that combined an old-fashioned, somewhat insincere charm with his thoroughgoing put-downs: 'I'm sorry, I don't want to sound rude to you - but that's the sort of portentous question I don't think I want to answer.' As always, he gave nothing away. An old friend of his had warned me: 'John has a capacity to put up the shutters that is excelled by nobody except a shopkeeper during a time of riots.'...

"Barbara Castle travelled around the country with [Freeman], expecting him to take a lead in arguing the 'Keep Left' case to Labour supporters, but she was disappointed. 'In one stormy meeting after another he stood against the wall, almost hiding himself behind the window curtains, but did not speak. After years of studying his complex personality [on intimate terms it should be added as they were lovers] I decided he was afraid of giving himself too fully to anything or anyone. I once told him his motto ought to be "Je me sauve" ("I protect myself").'"

Perhaps best known for his 1959-1960 talk show, Freeman was a Desert Rat in World War II, was an MP after the war, a diplomat, editor of the New Statesman, High Commissioner to India, Ambassador to the United States, managing director of London Weekend Television, chairman of Independent Television News, and professor at UC Davis.

A Treatise of Vocations by William Perkins | Monergism

A book by the late-16th-century English preacher, author, and Cambridge fellow on the Bible's teaching about work and calling:

"Now, in every calling we must consider two causes. First, the efficient and author of it. Secondly, the final and proper end of it. The author of every calling is God Himself; and therefore Paul says, "As God has called every man, let him walk," verse 17. And for this reason, this order and manner of living in this world is called a Vocation, because every man is to live as he is called by God. For look as it is in the military camp: the General appoints to every man his place and standing; one place for the horseman and another for the footman; and to every particular soldier likewise: his office and standing in which he is to abide against the enemy, and to live and die in that place -- it is even so in human societies. God is the General, appointing to every man his particular calling, and as it were, his standing. And in that calling He assigns to him his particular office; in performance of this office he is to live and die. And just as in a camp, no soldier can depart his standing without the leave of the General, nor more may any man leave his calling unless he receives liberty from God. Again, in a clock, made by the art and handiwork of man, there are many wheels, and every one has its several motions -- some turn this way, some that way, some go softly, some apace -- they are all ordered by the motion of the watch. Behold here a notable resemblance to God's special providence over mankind, which is the watch of the great world, allotting to every man his motion and calling; and in that calling, his particular office and function. Therefore what I say is true, that God Himself is the author and beginning of callings."

The book was typed, formatted, and spelling modernized by William H. Gross of OnTheWing,org


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